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North Carolina Gun Laws: How Do State Laws Apply in Tourist Areas, Such as a National Forest?

Image: North Carolina Gun Laws: How Do State Laws Apply in Tourist Areas, Such as a National Forest?
Welcome sign at the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the town of Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 07:50 PM

North Carolina gun laws allow a person to openly carry any firearm in to state parks, roadside rest areas, national forests, and all other lands – unless prohibited by the landowner.

People may also carry a concealed weapon in to these tourist areas if they possess a current and valid concealed handgun permit as well as a valid form of identification at all times.

According to Jeff Welty, a University of North Carolina professor, any limitations on concealed carry in local parks would have to come from local government; however, local governments don’t have the authority to regulate or restrict concealed carry.

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In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly amended state laws to allow guns onto public properties by replacing “parks” with the narrower phrase “municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government.” Recreational facilities were defined to “include only the following: a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, and an athletic facility.”

In 2013, the General Assembly made further amendments by changing the definition of recreational facilities to include only:
  • athletic fields, “including any appurtenant facilities such as restrooms,” but only during scheduled, organized athletic events
  • swimming pools, “including any appurtenant facilities used for dressing, storage of personal items, or other uses related to the swimming pool”
  • “[a] facility used for athletic events, including, but not limited to, a gymnasium”
The law now specifies that greenways and “open areas” aren’t recreational facilities. Playgrounds have been removed from the definition.

As the law stands now, local governments generally lack the authority to prohibit concealed carry in parks. They may prohibit concealed carry at the recreational facilities listed in the statute, which include neither playgrounds nor greenways.

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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North Carolina gun laws allow a person to openly carry any firearm in to state parks, roadside rest areas, national forests, and all other lands – unless prohibited by the landowner.
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2014-50-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 07:50 PM
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